Dental hygiene students may be absent from their program for a period of 7 – 10 days to volunteer for humanitarian missions in developing countries. The University of Alberta and the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry recognize that these activities strengthen international, intercultural, and interprofessional dimensions of teaching and learning. The program will consider the participation of dental hygiene students in missions during winter term. BSc students may be able to attend a mission in fall term. Curriculum requirements take precedence over external activities; therefore, this document outlines protocols and parameters requisite for student participation in any humanitarian mission.
The following agencies have been attended by FoMD students or faculty. With approval, students may apply for different missions. This is not a complete list of possible humanitarian missions.
Dentistry for All: This mission is Edmonton based and was founded by Dr. Dennis Bedard. It has been sending volunteers annually to The Philippines, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. In 15 years, 30 missions have been completed and over 12,000 people have been treated. www.dentistryforall.org
Kindness in Action: This mission is Edmonton based and was founded by Dr. Amil Shapka. In its’ third decade of providing dental and dental hygiene treatment and care to people in developing countries, this year KIA has committed to 14 projects in 8 countries with close to 300 volunteers. www.kindnessinaction.ca
Global Kindness Foundation: This agency is a Vancouver based, newly formed charity whose aim is to sponsor dental and medical missions worldwide. To date the organization has led volunteer teams to Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Iraq and Kashmir, India. The mission of GKF is to provide much needed dental and medical services to impoverished people worldwide.
Medical Mercy Canada: MMC is a Calgary based, non-government, non-religious, charitable organization. MMC provides medical supplies, education, support and other supplies to India, Nepal, and Burmese refugees in Thailand and to impoverished villagers in Ukraine. MMC has an annual medical dental camp that goes to Nepal in the fall.
Change for Children Association: Change for Children is an Edmonton based charity founded in 1976 by a small group of people who were convinced that concerned Albertans could make a positive impact in the fight against poverty and injustice, internationally and in their own communities.
Dental Care for Children: This non-profit, California based organization, was founded by Dr. Charles Tozzer. He has coordinated over 200 dental clinics for free dental care for children without the means to see a dentist. Dental Care for Children arranges missions Trips include clinics in Haiti, Mexico, and California.